Art at work & play: Artober Fest highlights CMU’s art and design department

Between the road roller and the cupola furnace, the electric pottery wheels and graffiti wall, Artober Fest will be rather hard to miss.

Look for it on Delta Field, the grassy area with the Fine Arts Building to the west and Wubben Hall and the Science Center to the east, on the campus of Colorado Mesa University.

From about mid-morning to mid-afternoon on Thursday, Oct. 27, the field will be bustling with all kinds of demonstrations and activities that highlight the variety of programs available through the university’s art and design department.

“It’s sort of like our own art festival,” said Susie Garner, who heads the department. “It’s just going to be awesome.”

Artober Fest used to be an annual open house for high school students interested in studying art and design, but has since grown as more university students, faculty and members of the community wanted to join the activities, Garner said.

So this year, high school students will be there and anyone else who is interested also is welcome, she said.

It will be a spectacle of sorts, but one at which there will be plenty to learn and do and see.

For some of the activities there are costs and those funds go toward the various student art and design clubs and guilds.

ACTIVITY: Play with clay

TIME: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

DETAILS: With five electric pottery wheels and plenty of clay, KyoungHwa Oh and her ceramics students will demonstrate how to make a bowl or vase and then give those curious the chance to get behind the wheel.

Nothing created will be saved or fired. “We are going to play,” said Oh, an assistant professor of art.

Using the electric pottery wheel isn’t as easy as you might think, she said.

Managing the movement of the clay and the speed of the wheel takes practice, she said, so by “playing” there is less pressure and more fun.

ACTIVITY: Print a shirt

TIME: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

DETAILS: “We are doing what we call live-printing T-shirts,” said Josh Butler, associated professor of art.

Bring your own T-shirt or hoodie, or purchase a T-shirt on the spot, then pick a wood block design carved by university student. They will ink the design and print it onto the fabric.

One of the students is going to print on onesies for her new baby, Butler said.

It costs $5 to get a print on a shirt you bring to the festival, $10 to purchase a T-shirt there and have it printed. For $2 you can carve your own design into a wood block and “get a feel for what the technical process is,” Butler said. “They can even print it themselves.”

ACTIVITY: Paint a wall and more

TIME: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

DETAILS: Graphic design students learn to visually communicate ideas through graphic designs in a variety of ways, said Eli Hall, assistant professor of art and graphic design.

See it in action by watching or trying screen printing or sign painting.

There also will be a temporary cellophane graffiti wall where all those who want to can try their hand and design something using spray paint.

Along with supplying the ink and paint, this area will have some giveaways, such as T-shirts and collectable posters, Hall said.


ACTIVITY: Be a star

TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

DETAILS: Learn a bit about animation, film and motion design by posing in front of a green screen, then seeing how that image or footage can be hanged with different backdrops.

These “digital caricatures” then will be posted on social media for all to enjoy.

Student film crews also will be out and about getting footage of the event via dolly, jib arm and drone.


ACTIVITY: Rolling in art

TIME: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

DETAILS: Palisade High School and university students as well as several professors have been working on woodcuts, some quite large, that will be inked and printed at Artober.

The printing part will be via a road roller loaned for the occasion by Asphalt Specialists & Supply Inc.

“We’re going to be printing a lot,” Butler said.

They will be printing on jersey fabric, which “is essentially T-shirt fabric,” he said.

ACTIVITY: Pour on the iron

TIME: 10 a.m to 4 p.m.

DETAILS: Students in the Sculpture Guild will begin setting things up about 8 a.m., “but it won’t be too spectacular until 11 a.m. or noon,” said Araan Schmidt, assistant professor of art sculpture.

That’s when the students will begin pouring iron heated on the spot in a cupola furnace to 2,500 degrees. About every 10 minutes they will pour into molds to create cast iron sculptures.

“It’s really an orchestrated ballet of fire” with plenty of protective gear, Schmidt said. “It’s quite the spectacle.”

For those who want to do more than observe, the guild will help you create your own iron sculpture.

At two workshops — from 5–7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 — resin-bonded sand blocks can be purchased for $25 (cash only). Students will provide guidance on the process and use of tools to create the relief in block and preparing it to be poured, Schmidt said.

“It doesn’t take long to make some pretty interesting designs,” he said.

And then, on Thursday, you can watch as your sculpture is cast in iron.


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